From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Machine-operator knowledgebase

Dan MacLeod, CPE, MA, MPH
This category refers to production machines of all types, but with particular emphasis on metalworking machine tools. The category includes both large stand-alone machines as well as smaller bench-top machinesDespite the obvious differences between types of machines, there are similarities in problems with the operator interface. An explicit goal of these pages is to encourage cross-fertilization of ideas.


How to improve the machine-operator interface

  • understand the principles
  • adapt the machine
  • best practices
  • vendor-user partnerships
Overview1 Overview2



  • indexers
  • slides
  • locating guides
  • loader assists
  • programming
  • manipulators
Load1 Load2


  • power ejectors
  • lever ejectors
  • air ejectors
  • gravity low height
  • hand clearance
Unload1 Unload2

Controls and activation buttons

  • pressure
  • location
  • orientation
  • remotes
  • standards: two-hand controls
Control1 Control2

Machine parts handling

(special issues)

  • machine-to-machine transfer
  • forklift access
  • parts orientation
Parts1 Parts2

Covers and doors

  • springs
  • counterbalanced
  • slides
  • powered cylinders
  • wheels
Door1 Door2


  • parts containers
  • flow and sequence
  • distances in general
Layout1 Layout2

Changeovers and setup

  • conveyors/slides
  • carts
Changeover1 Changeover2

Special operations

Chip handling

  • removal from machine
  • dumping
Chip1 Chip2

Food processing rapid “setup”

  • hinges
  • quick releases
  • power assists
  • no tools
  • no lifting
Meat1 Meat2

Die changeover

  • conveyors
  • carts


  • access
  • reach rods
  • valve chains
  • hammer wheels
  • drivers
  • motorized
Valve1 Valve2


Converting single-use machines into production machines.